March 29, 2007

Patience required with offensive line

Analysis and commentary by Keith Allsep.

While the defense has gotten off to a quick start this spring, dominating the first two mini-scrimmages of the first five practices, that should be expected. It takes time for an offense to come together, particularly one that is looking to replace three starters along the offensive line.

The line has also been without its returning starter at right tackle, Justin Sorensen, who has missed most of the first five practices recovering from an injury. In today's column, we will examine the offensive line, and discuss one member's resurgence as he attempts to re-gain his starting position for the 2007 season.

Prior to the 2006 season, perhaps no other player on the Gamecock roster was more highly praised for their off-season performance more than Gurminder Thind was by head coach Steve Spurrier.

However, the big Canadian's performance was less than stellar once the season began. Then his year was cut short by a season-ending foot injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the Georgia game. Now, after five of 15 scheduled spring practices, the 6-foot-4, 293-pound junior is making a move to regain a starting position.

Thind was one of the few bright spots for the offense in last Saturday's first spring scrimmage, grading out at 97 percent, which is the highest grade given out by offensive line coach John Hunt since his arrival prior to the 2005 season. So, it was no big surprise to see Thind running with the first team in Wednesday night's impromptu scrimmage. While it will be difficult to unseat junior Jamon Meredith at left tackle, Thind has certainly created some competition at the position.

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